The less I know the better

Warm summer days. Dust and heat. The grass has yellowed and the cicadas sing. The early afternoon sun has force and the orchard trees revel in the heat. There’s little wind to speak of and the activities of the birds sound far louder than usual. The sounds of mankind have diminished. It’s quiet up here.

Earlier today I travelled to a nearby town to purchase some timber supplies for the new shed project. The roads between here and there were quiet, and the town itself seemed far quieter than usual. At least I was able to obtain the timber supplies, and I was quietly grateful for that.

Obtaining supplies has become something of a challenge. With a few infrastructure projects to complete, the Editor and I have discussed this matter at length. We’ve also asked around with suppliers. They’re happy to discuss the supply and people problems that they are having. And you’d have to be living under a rock to have not noticed other inexplicable shortages here and there about the economic landscape.

We’ve worked out that in order to obtain supplies of stuff like timber, we’re having to purchase chemically treated timber (against rot or termites) and of unusual sizes and lengths. People working in the trades don’t want these, or can’t use them due to building codes, cost concerns or engineering specifications. It pays to be unfussy about such things these days, and heck it’s not as if the people working in the trades can get all of the supplies they want anyway.

The problem is that the supplies we are obtaining for various projects around the farm cost a good deal more than they once did. Even heading out for dinner these days also costs far more. That’s inflation for you. Bizarrely, my day to day experience does not reflect the official statistics on the subject.

The thing is, I can’t recall ever experiencing this sort of rapid increase in prices combined with supply issues. The official inflation statistics suggests that the previous spike occurred in 1974, which coincided with the worldwide Oil Crisis. And let’s not mention that the following year the Queen’s representative sacked the Federal Government due to issues surrounding economic matters. No wonder I don’t remember that year, I was busy worrying about whether I should take a dump in my nappies, what’s for dinner, or should I have a massive cry – or maybe all three at once?

I’ve experienced recessions for sure, and poverty, well I know a thing or two about that. But this inflation thing is a new one for me. For a long time now I’ve wondered about the Modern Monetary Theorists claim (in it’s most base form) that printing money and so expanding the money supply doesn’t matter. Their theories admittedly have greater sway on economic events than my own beliefs. But I dunno, I believe that expanding the money supply will mean that there will be more money chasing the same amount of stuff, and this leads to higher prices. Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe paying inflated prices for stuff does matter – to me at least.

History is a good guide to economics, although this is an unfashionable perspective in these enlightened days. I believe that Modern Monetary Theory has its roots in Keynesian economic theory. The theory was so named after the British economist John Maynard Keynes developed it during The Great Depression of the 1930’s. Back then, there was stuff to buy, but few people had any mad cash with which to purchase the stuff. So, the economist advocated for increased government expenditures and lowering taxes so as to stimulate demand and pull the global economy out of the depression. To put things in more simple terms, governments needed to borrow more mad cash, thus expanding the money supply. And then they had to go and spend it. That extra mad cash floating around got people on the street spending mad cash at other businesses, which in turn created opportunities for employment and so on.

World War II sure put that theory to the test, if only because governments had to borrow heaps of mad cash in order to fight the war. Demand for products and services went through the roof. I’ve read histories which suggested that price controls were implemented so that inflation did not become a problem. But given the government was probably the biggest consumer of stuff in those years, the price controls would have been easy to enforce. And the economies which weren’t bombed to smithereens, bounced back in the aftermath of that war, and even many of those which were thoroughly bombed did pretty well.

The risk is that all policies can be taken to their extremes. And the happy abandon with which the money supply has been (and still is being) expanded in recent years in many countries across the planet, is I’m guessing, causing the rising prices. There is ever more mad cash chasing a limited amount of stuff. Sure there are other issues at play such as high energy costs, resource depletion, pollution, the slow unwinding of global trade and let’s not forget the health subject which dare not be named. It’s a mess.

There’s an old saying about ‘two ways to be broke’. One way is to have things to buy, but no money (The Great Depression). The other way is to have plenty of money, but nothing to buy. Either way is probably a sub-optimal outcome, and who knows, we might yet discover that the opposite of one bad historical experience, is another bad historical experience. Time will tell.

Ollie enjoys some respite from the much warmer and drier weather this week

This week has been much hotter and drier than since, I dunno, maybe a year. It’s nice to experience some summer weather, although as the photo of Ollie above shows, it all has come as a bit of a shock.

My favourite national youth music radio station, Triple J ran it’s Hot 100 and Hot 200 countdown of songs from last year over two days. The audience votes for the songs and I believe they processed 2.5 million votes, which is not bad for a population of 25 million people. I’ve been listening to the station and annual countdown since about 1993 and it brings me a lot of joy.

Whilst enjoying the countdown, I got to work installing a small off grid solar power system in the new shed project. Unfortunately, the Editor and I had to haul 24 of the decade-and-a-bit-old sealed lead acid batteries down to the shed site. The things weigh over 50kg (110 pounds) each and I was glad to have that job completed.

Five old spare solar panels were installed onto the roof of the shed. It’s utterly bonkers that second hand these super high-tech items have almost no value. So a few years ago I picked up a stash of them for various future projects. Now the solar panels are on the roof and in use, and they work fine. Unfortunately, due to the heat this week, working on a roof is no easy experience. I had to get up early in order to install the solar panels and avoid the heat, and I’m no fan of getting up early. Spare a thought for me (and the long suffering Editor).

Five second hand solar panels were added to the roof of the shed

Then it took another day and a half of work in a hot shed in order to wire up the small power system. The batteries and panels are all working perfectly despite their age.

Old batteries – new life. Me toasty hot!

We’ve continued to add layers of crushed rock with lime to the surfaces of the new shed project. Some readers expressed concern about erosion on the downhill side of the shed site and the next photo shows how that issue is being tackled.

Crushed rock with lime and a protective barrier of rocks reduces the risk of erosion

In other farm news:

It’s a Koala in the forest surrounding the farm

The above photo says it all, and is a good sign as to the overall health of the trees surrounding the farm.

Persimmons are very late flowering and fruiting trees, and that combination works well here in these cold and (previously) damp growing seasons.

Persimmons are swelling in size on the tree. This is a non astringent variety – Fuyu

The hundreds of kiwi fruit are also swelling on the vines. The plants are prolific producers, but it is very difficult to time exactly when to harvest the fruit. Pick too early and the fruit is rock hard and unpleasant tasting. Too late, and the fruit ferments and goes too soft.

Kiwi fruit hang off the vines in vast quantities

Onto the flowers:

You know it is a cold season when the Agapanthus are this late to flower
This Hydrangea is a shy, but very hardy plant
Geraniums are always super cheery regardless of the conditions
But the Roses love the warmer weather

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 22’C (72’F). So far this year there has been 33.8mm (1.3 inches) which is the same as last weeks total of 33.8mm (1.3 inches)

50 thoughts on “The less I know the better”

  1. Hi Chris,

    The flower photos are a delight to this winter-weary eye! The only flowers that I can look forward to soon will be on the witch hazel shrub. Amazingly, it blooms as early as February during warmer spells. I need to prune off a few small branches to force for winter flowers in the house.

    I’m old enough to remember the price controls that President Nixon established during his second term, during the mid 1970s inflationary period in the US. I’m not old enough to have been affected by that inflation personally; I was a teenager spending the bits of mad cash I earned from baby-sitting on books and ice cream, neither of which was significantly affected by inflation. My parents, on the other hand, had to deal with inflation as we moved to a different state in the middle of my high school years, in 1973. They had to take out a very high interest loan on the house they bought that year. I didn’t think to ask them while they were still alive if the price they got for it when they sold it in 1980 upon my father’s move to a different company in a different state made up for the high interest they had to pay on the loan, but I suspect that it did not.

    Mike and I notice large price increases in the menu at our favorite restaurant and at the meat counter at the grocery store. Fortunately the ranchers from whom we buy most of our meat have not raised their prices to anything like the same degree. It’s actually cheaper now to buy high-quality meat from them rather than the lower quality meat at the grocery store!

    I was at the grocery store whose initials are T and J the other day with a good friend of mine. No empty shelves there; you’d think it was still 2019. Mike says there are spot shortages at other stores he’s been to, but so far not like the first few months of what I can’t name.

    It’s typical January weather here: generally cold, with occasional short warm-ups as weather systems pass to the north or south. Except for a couple of inches of snow a week or so ago, we’ve had no winter precipitation from any of the systems; they have stayed well to our north or well to our south. That pattern is supposed to continue this week.


  2. The health issue that caused such economic and logistical ripple effects was a wake up call ( like we needed yet another one!).

    Lots of folks trying to explain, and lots of moving parts, but whatever the best explanation might be, not nearly as many solutions are forthcoming, so time to be nimble and have plan B, C, and D in mind.

    The system is brittle, at the edge of its ability to maintain equilibrium, so what happens when the next and possibly larger disruption happens?

    Anyhoo, my personal reaction is to speed up my conversion of legal tender to physical infrastructure, so I guess I’m adding to the price pressure also.

    With the cold weather, I’ve been finding indoor activities. Husking and shelling hazelnuts, then it’s on the the hickories and black walnuts! I think this might be the year I try making home made Frangelico.

    Now that it’s “baking season”, I’ve decided to get serious about making a good home made bagel, and am seeing improvement as well as a bit more paunch with all the carb craving.

    Received all our garden seeds this past week, so will complete the garden map and do calculations for how many seedlings to make for each veggie that we start indoors and transplant. Not all that long till maple sap starts flowing, and then soon after that we set up the seed trays in the sun room!

  3. Chris, my only comment to this weeks blog title is that I bet the Wiggles could figure out the pun!

    Inflation is a terrifying boogeyman, nefariously stealing your hard earned dollars whilst you sleep. The trick, as always, is to make sure your income grows faster than that treacherous creature can take it. Easier said than done, but by all accounts many are having success with this approach in todays job market.

    An inflation comment, and I didn’t even mention Suzuki Jimnys!


  4. Yo, Chris – Supply problems, the economy. Nothing either you or I (or, anyone else we know) can do diddly squat about. So best not get too excited about it all. It’s bad for your health. And good health is about all we have. Steve said exactly what I was thinking. Best to have plans B, C, and D. Having that nailed down, best to not agonize over it too much, as until whatever presents itself, one won’t know which to put into action. I may be wrong, but I’ve noticed you have a bit of a problem dealing with uncertainty. Might want to think about that. For your own peace of mind.

    Tote that barge, lift that bail, haul those 110 pound lead acid batteries. Aren’t you glad that job is behind you, in the rear view mirror?

    As I’m sure you know, koalas are rather solitary creatures. But, one hopes when the time comes, your resident can find a buddy to frolic with. It’s appearance is really a great indicator of how healthy your forest is.

    Persimmons and kiwi fruit. How exotic! 🙂

    Hydrangeas are so pretty. And they’re blue! We have several here at the Institution, but one is a real knock out. Just the deepest blue you’ve ever seen. I always look forward to it flowering. Get out the whip and chair! That rose is devouring your garden bench! Lew

  5. Hi Damo,

    Score! Yeah, you got me there. 🙂

    I know, inflation punishes the prudent and financially conservative savers in the community, and rewards those whom enjoy leverage. Sad, but true, and also little wonder that there has been no attempt to rein in the worst excesses. Man, you’d hate to be a politician or public servant at the Reserve Bank having to choose between maintaining asset prices or tackling inflation. At some point in that story whatever action you take damns you. But at the moment the current regime favours some folks over others – this state of affairs cannot last, or at least that is my thinking. And interest rate hikes will begin to bite soon, unless inflation is blithely ignored – that’s a possibility with a dark ending.

    Interestingly, I believe that there are a lot of boomers with debt, and this is a different situation than what their parent’s expectations were at a similar age. I am of the belief that sooner or later, they’ll cash out their super to pay down their debt. And this may have the effect of lowering prices for bonds and equities as people exit the market. And some of them might not be able to pull that trick and have anything left over and have to rely on the pension, which will then drive demand down further. I’m honestly not sure and am just guessing, but it is a likely scenario. We’ll find out what happens sooner or later.

    An alternative strategy is to reduce your costs – and this is the option we have taken. It works. But your suggested option also works, you just lack any control over the income side of the story.

    Well, Lewis may not be aware of the delights of the Suzuki Jimny Lite – which offloads some computer chips from the original offerings and also just happens to reduce the price by a whopping 10%. Hashtag, just sayin. 🙂



  6. Hi Steve,

    Mate, I really don’t know what to make of things right now. Take today for example. I travelled into the big smoke on a sourcing day and dropped off at many places to pick up varying materials and stuff. It’s weird and I can’t get my head around things, but some parts of the big smoke look normal, and others are a bit ‘off’. Certainly, the more working class areas looked just fine to me, it was the more affluent areas which were a bit unusual. Anyway, I managed to nab everything that I set out to grab which surprised me.

    But yeah, at the back of my mind I too keep plans B, C, D … Z (zombie) in mind and act accordingly based on the dictates of the day. It pays to have a few responses up your sleeve and ready to wield out as needed – as you noted.

    The pressure to lift interest rates is the story I believe may challenge that equilibrium. You see folks with their hands on the policy levers don’t all have the same objectives, and sometimes the pendulum can swing suddenly away from the original trajectory. I feel we are close to such a change.

    🙂 Blessed are the prepared, for they shall eat! During the Great Depression, the number of families living on the land increased because everyone acknowledged the truth that farming families could at least eat.

    Go on, how does anyone shell a black walnut?

    Frangelico is a lovely tasting liquor. Australia has a long history with rum (including our only military coup) and as such that is where my efforts go.

    Yum! Did you grow another batch of bread wheat this year?

    Mate, I’m saving some varieties of seed right now (kale and peas). 🙂 But yeah, like you I soon intend to fill the coffers with additional seed stocks.

    Hey, the sugar maple tree here is getting rather large! 🙂 But at 2% sugar there are easier sources such as honey 80%, or even sugar beets at 20%. I wonder about salt being this far inland.



  7. Hi Claire,

    Winter flowering in your part of the world is a great way to get a head start on plant reproduction, and that certainly goes on around here with the Acacia species. By late winter the forest is full of yellow flowers. And the past week or two of more normal summer weather has meant that the roses have grown! I’m kind of torn with the tomatoes as to whether I turn off the small amount of daily irrigation they enjoy on the off chance I’m cooling the soil down. But wow, the tomatoes have grown too.

    You’ve kind of hit the nail on the head with your story – who recalls the dark side of the inflationary experience nowadays? And total respect too, like you both the Editor and I both sought gainful employment as teenagers. But far out, on the other hand, I hear you about changing High Schools. Sure it teaches you to make new friends, but there is the element of confronting what it means to be the outsider – and that is no fun at all, but can also be overcome.

    I’ve heard the interest rate story, and I can’t speak for your part of the world, but when I was a young bloke a house would take three to four years of a single persons wage to pay off. Nowadays it takes two people up to seven years, and that excludes day to day living expenses, taxes etc. Nope, the goal posts have shifted.

    Hey, restaurant menus down here are also becoming simpler and they’re sometimes printed on paper (not laminated) which indicates that things can be rather fluid on that front. Such strange days. You’re lucky to have local producers – I suppose at a pinch we could hit up our mates of the big shed fame, but we don’t really eat meat at home. Dairy on the other hand is an interesting story. My mates no longer run cows, they’re focusing on goats for that ingredient.

    My local independent grocer has only a couple of items out of supply – but it’s also far more expensive than the chain stores. And I do wonder if that is part of the story. Interestingly too there are rural / city differences with that story and I wonder about that too.

    Yikes! Your winter weather would make me slightly fearful for the coming summer. Although I don’t really understand whether you receive more of your precipitation during the summer months? As you may note it is fairly evenly spread throughout the year here, with occasional dry spells.



  8. Hi Lewis,

    Michael Lewis penned an amusing line in his book on the 2008 crash which was something along the line of: people were walking around like they were in a daze or an Enya video clip. What most people don’t understand is that successive governments have drawn more of the population into such esoteric financial worlds. They might not realise that they are involved, but they’re in it up to their eyeballs. Take pension funds for just one example. The unwinding will be unpleasant.

    Headed off into the big smoke this morning. I’d had some items on back order for many months and they turned up in the past week. Who am I to argue with the winds of fate? Did a whole lot of errands. Dropped in to the solar dudes and picked up a large 12V solar panel. Those guys are alright, and one of them had experienced the health subject which dare not be named, and I dropped in a few questions to him about his experience. More than a cold, but far less than a flu was what he described to me.

    Yeah, I can’t quite get my head around the strangeness in the big smoke. Some people are freaked out, others seem not to be concerned. Some areas looked quiet and depressed, whilst others looked normal. I was pleased to note a few tables of old ethnic blokes enjoying lunch sourced from a food van (think the Chef film) in the warmth and some of the cheeky wags were even smoking (not usually allowed around people eating). I gave them a cheeky grin. Some areas people wore masks outdoors in the 91’F heat, and others couldn’t work under those conditions with a mask. The only pattern I could discern was that the more affluent areas were more freaked out and quiet – and what does that say? Far out. The working class areas looked fairly normal, and they were my destination.

    I saw the fires in Colorado. Holy carp that’s late in the season. It was not a bad idea that Pam got her parents out of that part of the world.

    Ouch! Some things never change. Paperwork. I can see that. It is worth noting that there are diminishing returns to additional paperwork burdens, and possibly good fighters and leaders, might not be that great at paperwork – that mismatch in the requirements could fuel some weird outcomes with the Romans, and us for that matter.

    Hehe! You’re making the assumption that people know what to do with the fruit and veg. They might not you know. But they probably know what to do with the snacks.

    Your Club is pretty lucky to have weeded out an unsuitable person for an official position. I doff my hat to the systems which made it so. I’m sure you’ve seen other groups self implode over such craziness. It would not surprise me at all to see more populist candidates getting their run at the helm of this here ship known as civilisation as time goes on. It won’t do any good, but it may stave off some of the worst excesses – and introduce other unexpected excesses. Hey, in Uther I’m reading about the Choosing.

    Hehe! The editors at Mr King’s publisher probably felt much the same about that (He could have left that out)! I dunno, I quite enjoyed the additional little narrative details, but I hear you, the author himself cut out 400 odd pages from the original edition, so the facts support your supposition!

    Yes, I agree, you are absolutely correct. There is little that we can do about supply issues. Mate, and I sort of sound like I’m defending my point of view here, but I’ve got a few major items of infrastructure I’d like to get sorted out before things get any weirder. And I’m adapting as I encounter particular issues. Thanks for the insight, and you’re probably right. I usually act after consideration and things are moving fast now and this is not an adaptive response in such a climate. What you are seeing is me thinking on my feet, and this is not as efficient in the generally accepted definition of that word, as planning things out in advance. Basically, I’m learning new mental tools as I go in order to adapt to the changing environment around me, and they’ve got the early rough edges still – and things get missed or stuffed up. If we did not talk daily, you would not have such insights as I could sweep all these things under the carpet, but what we talk about is what is genuinely going on warts and all. I wouldn’t have it any other way, because this is life. Hope that makes some sense.

    When I got to the last of those heavy batteries, it was something of a relief. The heaviest battery here only weighs a little bit less than I do. That one is not fun to move around – as it will have to be sooner or later.

    You never know with the marsupials, but where there is one, there may be more! And thank you, the canopies of the trees in that area is looking really lush with all of the work we are doing around that area, so the Koala is a great sign. And somehow yet again I have become embroiled in Samoan tree politics… Nothing I did, but yeah. I’ve known these guys for a decade now and far out they work as hard as we do.

    Actually both of those fruits are quite tasty, when harvested correctly. Both need to ferment just that little bit – but not too much, or too little, but just right. Like the three little bears. 🙂

    Ooo! Lovely to hear of your blue Hydrangeas. Those plants are super tough too – you wouldn’t think so, but they are.

    The garden bench is a goner. You said to watch out for Triffids – and that particular climbing rose is displaying all of the tendencies. First the garden bench, next the world!!!!! Insert evil genius chuckle.



  9. The phrase “a tough nut to crack” probably originated from someone familiar with black walnuts. I use a combination of a leverage multiplying tool and patience. There are all kinds of gadgets out there, for all budgets, but this one works “good enough”.
    ha! interesting- I see the thing is not available now. See, gotta be thinking ahead! There is a fair amount of effort to get the nutmeats, and one wonders if the effort / reward ratio is very good, but the nuts are free for the gathering, and we like them.

    I did not grow wheat this year, we still have plenty, and wanted to do a rotation of other things before planting again. There is really just one section of our garden suitable (flat enough) to till and sow a wide area for wheat, so I can’t rotate to another garden area.

    I certainly have a sweet tooth, but have come to admit I’m not a good beekeeper. It is hard for even serious beekeepers to keep hives alive through the winter here, with all the new stressors that bees have, and so it’s maple syrup for me. I wonder if there is a way to do home made sugar from sugar beets? (off to google that now).

    seeds- the dilemma there is that some seeds just don’t stay viable for too long, so you have to plant often enough to keep things going. Luckily, soup beans, corn, wheat, all stay viable for long periods. I actually just did a post on my rather random blog on garden seeds, but did not explain which were from stock and which were purchased this winter.

  10. Yo, Chris – What to do with fruit and veg? You eat them. 🙂 . But I admit, I’m pure as the driven slush. Even around my place, it’s the processed stuff that goes first. Not that I have that much.

    Well, we had a pretty good meeting at the Club, yesterday. Elected officers. The crazies were driven back, without too much bloodshed. There are one or two wild cards / loose cannons on the board, but enough level heads to keep them in line. I was curious about our financials. We have about $40,000 in savings. I asked if any of it was in CDs. It was, but due to circumstances, they were cashed in, as they needed liquidity. The move to the new Club and You Know What followed close on each other’s heels. The Club was closed for 2 1/2 months. Recovering lost ground took awhile. There was also a lot of food that went past date, and had to be tossed. That I didn’t know about. But, we’re back to where we’re making slightly more than our monthly expenses.

    I do wish we could own our own building, and not be at the mercy of landlords. We got a deal where the old owner of our space, worked a deal where if we paid a year, we got a reduction in rent. Basically, we got 12 months for the price of 10. But, the building has new owners, and who knows what will happen when the lease comes up, again. So far, relations with the new owner are cordial. The problems with locating a new club are, 1.) central location and 2.) not likely to flood. Oh, well. What happens, happens. The Universe may provide.

    LOL. I guess I’d better put down “The Stand” and pick up “Urther”, again. Your closing fast!

    You’ll get the infrastructure sorted. Look at your track record. It will happen.

    Ah, I get it. Thinking out loud. I used to have a mate who would go, “But not that’s what you said!” And I’d go, “I was just thinking out loud.” Considering possibilities. Options.

    I took a look down the rabbit hole, re: koalas. Each female has her territory. Males have a territory that covers several female’s territories. So you may see a travalin’ man, just a travalin’ through. 🙂

    Must be a rose / triffid cross. I wouldn’t sit on that bench. Lew

  11. Hi, Chris!

    The Wiggles: Obviously it was their name. I probably would have voted for them, so see what can happen. Maybe that’s not fair . . .

    So well put, about the inflation and monetary policies; very clear. I made a grocery shopping trip today, the first in almost two weeks with our snow and ice, though my son had run in once for some things. There was a little less stuff and some higher prices. The honey we usually buy had gone up $3 a jar (how are your bees?). And quite a few things have dates close to expiring. I always pay cash – I hate debt, and I don’t even like using a debit card – and the cashier took my money and said; “well, I don’t see much of this anymore!” Kind of made the hair on my neck rise; not a good sign.

    In your comment to Lew #8 I was fascinated by your reports on the activity in the big smoke. I don’t know if the same thing is going on here as I don’t get out much.

    Thinking on your feet: At least your are able to do that!

    Goodness, those batteries are huge. No wonder they weigh so much.

    Give Big Baby Freckles a kiss for me.

    Was the koala very close by? I remember the one you tried so hard to save years ago.

    Thank you for the, sort of, kiwi advice. Supposedly we will have some one day (they are not even planted yet).

    Agapanthus – one of my favorites. The roses cascading over the bench are exquisite. Who cares about such triffids!?


  12. @ Margaret:

    Good for you with the physical therapy, stretching, yoga, etc. I think doctors – and staff – are really doing it hard right now. I know several who have suddenly retired. And that doesn’t bode well.


  13. Hello Chris,

    I share your perspective on MMT. Money printing usually ends with an upward bang and more inflation than anyone cares to count.

    I am quite concerned with the enormous amount of money that is parked in off-shore accounts (trillions). The siphoning off of liquidity has had a deflationary effect the last twenty years.
    As soon as inflation starts to pick up (maybe already this year), I think that the owners of that liquidity will want to use it before the value disappears. I expect the money to flood back into the system, increasing the velocity of money. Probably they will buy up even more real estate and anything that keeps value, adding fuel to the flames.

    In the 1923 Weimar hyperinflation crash, one driving factor was that many people had stowed away cash in their mattresses during the preceding ten years, to have a buffer in case something happens. When inflation started, the mattresses were emptied in short order, destabilizing the system. I think that Cayman Islands is one big mattress.
    What do you think?

    Anyway, I guess it really doesn’t matter much, it is just another straw on the camel’s back. We don’t need to know which straw will break it.

    And there can always come another deflationary crash first, if interest rates spike up. Mike Maloney made an infotainment video about “Roller Coaster Crash”
    Of I take everything he says with a grain of salt, since he is trying to sell precious metals to us. Nevertheless, the swings in the endgame can be violent.

    Let’s see where it ends. It will be an eventful year!


  14. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the nut cracker link. What an interesting device, and it would be so easy to make. It looked as though it was made from RHS and flat steel with a couple of high tension bolts which work as the bearings. Super easy, and it also proves that the best ideas are other peoples – I wouldn’t have come up with that particular lever arrangement. You could make the handle longer too and reduce the effort required to crack the nuts. 😉

    Nut trees are worth the effort – definitely, and for all the reasons you mentioned. I’ve finally managed to get a walnut to survive for a couple of years. The tree is still small, but it has established itself. The almonds are good, but they flower so early in the season that they are susceptible to late frosts. Walnuts and chestnuts – not so much.

    Fair enough. One has to be respectful of flat-ish land. 🙂 I didn’t grow wheat again either this year. I dabbled with the crop last year and worked out that they needed far more area than I gave them. It seems a hardy enough crop.

    And yes, I agree, the bees can be fickle. My hives over winter fine (because it isn’t as cold and they manage their winter stores well enough and can forage on some warm-ish winter days). I generally keep the bees for pollination services. When the early tree crops are in blossom, there are no other insects around. Right now in high summer, that isn’t a problem and the native bees and other insects do great work, but early spring is an entirely different story.

    Sugar syrup from sugar beets is a bit earthy tasting for my palate. However, there is no reason the sugar can not be used for wine making and the result of that then gets distilled. Super easy. I have read that the grain Sorghum produces a far tastier syrup, and it is one of those plants on my too investigate list.

    We date our seeds and then discard the oldest batches, but many seeds are viable for a lot of years. The onion family for some reason seems to be an exception. But it really depends on how you store the seeds, and obviously germination rates decline over time.

    Here is a link to your fine blog: seeds of change



  15. Hi Pam,

    🙂 Hey, it’s kind of weird that one of our big musical exports is the Wiggles. But just to counter that awful imbalance, I believe that the rock act AC/DC which hails from the big smoke has sold over 200 million albums. They’re right up there internationally (in the top ten), thus proving that it really is a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll… Sorry for the bad pun. Actually I’m not sorry really and am chuckling to myself at my own dodgy humour! Hehe!

    Thank you. That’s what it economically looks like on the street. So many people live in Ivory towers and they have to get out more and talk to people who have to make their mad cash the hard way. The bees are doing fine and thank you for asking. 1kg (2.2 pounds) of honey will set me back about $16, so I’m not sure what your $3 increase means. You have to be aware that some producers are apparently adding in sugar syrup to honey in order to bolster production. I tend to stick to known producers and it is funny that you mention that but…

    And yeah, it ain’t a good sign. The problem with walking away from physical mad cash is that the supply of such stuff can be disappeared if it enters the digitul (sic) world. Hashtag just sayin.

    Oh Pam, there must be something wrong with my brain as I keep getting out and about and connecting with people whom I know. I dunno, it is possible this health subject will do me in, but you know I kind of took a good hard look at what is going on and decided that there are other things which my mind should worry about. Admittedly I could be very wrong in that regard. Time will tell.

    🙂 Truth to tell, I’m learning to think on my feet. I may write about that next week.

    The batteries are so heavy. I used that power system today to lift about 15,000 Litres (about 4,000 gallons) of water up the hill from the reserve water tank to the house water tanks. That power system may also be used to eliminate the dodgy three solar days which I get to experience every single year. People think I’m half asleep. 😉 I’m only a quarter asleep! 🙂

    Gangle freckles sends cordial tail wags to you too. And maybe some drool – he seems good at that whenever there is lemon drizzle cake being eaten. These dogs are not hot weather dogs.

    Yes, the koala was right on the edge of the orchard. Lots of mineral rich soil produces tasty leaves. They’re not meant to be able to eat the dominant forest tree, but the experts were wrong.

    Good luck with the kiwi fruit vines. The ones here are a decade old and you need both a male and female plant.

    The flowers are a real pleasure, and you should smell the rose terraces. On a hot day the aroma pervades the area. I’m always alert for Triffids – the forest here is hungry, as in Audrey II ‘feed me Seymour’ kind of hungry. Soil minerals are in short supply here, and the trees watch and wait for the opportunity – which I deny them, whilst also looking after their interests. Do I get thanked for that? Nope.



  16. Hi Goran,

    Mate, it is such an old story that most people discount the hard lessons learned. The Romans debased their coinage after all for much the same reasons. Maybe it is a truism that: give a man a key-performance-indicator and he will set about trying to game the system? 🙂 And it is really hard to ignore that every single other economic bubble has burst sooner or later. But on the other hand, I’m kind of torn and have this strange and profound respect that the current game has gone on now for far longer than I ever imagined it could possibly do so. Credit where credit is due, and it is kind of astounding. I was watching oil prices closely and um when the moronic version of the health subject which dare not be named hit, oil prices dropped $10 per barrel within days. But mate, we’ve surpassed that point and then some now.

    The powers that be have caught themselves between a rock and a hard place (as they say). Do we maintain financial asset prices via the printing presses, or do we tackle inflation? You can’t do both at the same time. Whom to appease? That is the question here!

    I don’t actually know enough about international transfers of money. But from a wholly different perspective: Badger credited for unearthing ‘hoard’ of Roman coins found on floor of cave Spain. What does that suggest to you about the deep time perspective?

    The Germans of that era had also lost the plot. There is a German word to describe losing yourself in work which I can’t quite recall at this point in time, and I tend to believe that they lost the middle ground, which was taken over by you know whom. Annual leave from work during that time period would have had some considerable appeal to the masses.

    What do I think about it all? Well it makes little sense that the Aussie dollar is gaining in value against the US dollar – but that seems to be happening. That makes little sense to me given how small we are down here compared to the US, but it hints at changes in the balance of power.

    Mate, gold bugs have their dare I say it, bugbears! 🙂 They might be right too, but remember the badger. My gut feeling is that in times of major disruptions it is the ability to produce which will set you apart – but you could be unlucky too.

    We shall await the outcome, and in the meantime all shall be revealed. I tend to believe that the decline will be slow, but with occasional sudden drops. Mind you, I could be wrong.



  17. Hi Lewis,

    I applaud your faith in your fellows ability to cook from scratch using raw materials. Hehe! 🙂 Mate, I have to laugh, I read recipes from time to time and they can include all manner of exotic ingredients. The thing is, people have to learn the basics before they can go on to the more advanced stuff. And my faith that our fellow man has learned how to use the basics is candidly not good. Far out. Seriously, how many people would know how to bake a decent loaf of bread using only a couple of basic ingredients?

    Steve in his comment got me thinking about the grain Sorghum. I’ve never tasted sorghum syrup, but by all accounts – it’s good. Might have to try growing some.

    I used the new power system to lift almost 4,000 gallons of water up the hill from the storage water tank today. It’s been a touch hot and dry recently, and it is probably prudent right now to keep the house water tanks filled up. Those house water tanks provide water to the bushfire sprinklers. I ran them for a few minutes tonight just to cool the area down a bit. The overnight low temperatures have not been all that low, and so the house isn’t cooling down that much. Inside the house this morning it was 73’F and during the day it climbed to 81’F which is not bad given I have no mechanical cooling devices. But far out, outside today in the sun was crazy hot. The Editor recently became interested about the UV from the sun which lands on this continent. Apparently due to the hole in the ozone layer, the UV has increased between 2% and 6% annually for the past two decades (since it could be measured). Not good, and the increase doesn’t sound like much each year, but yeah. This summer the light has a strange sort of white intensity to it, but I could be imagining that. Dunno, but I wear sunglasses outside most of the year around and have pretty good eyesight as a result. Pretty much everyone else my age requires reading glasses. Unfortunately the past two years I’ve struggled wearing sunglasses and masks – the freakin’ glasses fog up from the mask. Oh well, mustn’t grumble, well maybe just a little bit. 🙂

    I’m hoping to use the additional power system and old house batteries to top up the new house batteries on those horrific three deep winter days of the year when there is no solar power to speak of. It might work. Dunno, but I’ll put the system to the test next winter.

    It is a public holiday tomorrow and so the plan is to get up super early (6am has never been our friend) and do some work about the place before the 95’F in the shade temperature hits. In the sun it will be crazy hot tomorrow, but there are indications that cloud cover may reduce the sun intensity. I won’t say what we are intending to do, but all I can say now is that Editor was right. Man, I have had to say this quite a number of times recently over this matter. But anyway, all will be revealed next week.

    Did a very long paid work day today due to the public holiday tomorrow. The thing is, everything that people expect me to do, still needed to be done. I don’t get paid for public holidays mostly because I have no benefits, but yeah mustn’t grumble. Finished fairly late this evening, and you know I feel OK about what was done. Content more than relaxed. Contentment is a good end point I believe. What is your take on that state of mind?

    Respect for a peaceful Club board meeting. Take that ya crazies! A Katana sword is a useful item to have near to hand at such a time – always handy. I do hope that bloodshed was actually avoided? 🙂 I don’t doubt any of that, running a Club is a complicated business, but on the other hand does the Club require more mad cash than just above their outgoings plus a reserve? Sometimes larger piles of mad cash – even if held in trust for a good and well known reason – can attract all manner of unscrupulous folks. Allegedly my own professional body had somehow (probably high fees for members at a guess) accumulated a slush fund of $60m. The stories of some fat salaries in particular made it into the media. On a side story a few years ago I encountered a person who worked there, and oh boy, I reckon that person will actively avoid the Editor and I in future. I was a gentleman, but still asked some searching questions which the person answered like a drone.

    Speaking of offensive weapons and shortages, but just sayin… With the global supply chain on its knees amid ongoing COVID outbreaks, the world is running low on some unexpected items. You may think that I am half asleep, and that would be only half true! 🙂 But you may also recall that I did something about that very issue a few months ago. There are times I feel that I am but only one or two steps ahead of the failing bridge – like a Wilely-e-coyote / road runner cartoon.

    What will be, will be with the new lease for the Club. I tell you what though, I’ve seen some seriously strange behaviour in relation to commercial leases over the past two years. Some landlords to put it mildly, and to break my own rule here for just this instance and for dramatic effect, are just dicks, and have not understood that conditions have changed. I’ve seem some seriously strange stuff on that front, and here is the weird thing: other landlords on the other hand have adapted and are offering sweet deals. But you’re probably right in that the Universe will provide. There actually is a bit of luck involved in that scenario. What else do you do?

    Uther update: Owain of the caves has just arrived at the Choosing and has set the cat among the pigeons with Meradoc. Having to work slows down my reading, but I am enjoying the book immensely, and far more than I imagined that I would.

    Thanks. And yeah we’re doing surprise work on the infrastructure tomorrow and the next day. And yeah, yeah, the Editor was right… Oh well.

    Yes, that is exactly what you are seeing. I’m thinking out loud as part of our conversation because that is what is on my mind that day. You get to see the day to day process of me having to solve all the annoying problems that crop up here and there with all the crazy stuff going on in the world, and then what I intend to and actually do about it all. And I’m learning every step of the way too, but not ever knowing whether it is correct to do so until way after the fact. It is one thing to take an academic perspective upon the current bout of societal craziness, but it is another thing altogether to attempt to rise above that and do something with the time we have left to ourselves. And I kind of fall into the pragmatic response side of the story. The more I consider the matter, I’m not naturally an anxious person (what me worry!), but the worry you may see in the writing is me trying to decide if my personal energy and resources are best spent tackling a particular issue. And most of the time I just take a wild stab in the dark and hope for the best. It’s not an optimal response. What surprises me is that other people seem largely oblivious to the weirdness going on all around us. That is an impressive feat.

    And nice to hear that you too think out aloud. It is good to voice or pen your thoughts, and I was recommending to someone to do that activity just the other day.

    Ah, yes the marsupials have rather interesting love lives. You wouldn’t want to be a male marsupial mouse (the Antechinus).

    Thanks for the sage advice about the bench seat being absorbed by the Triffid. I had wondered what was going on there!



  18. Hi Chris,

    You’ll need to look for a short season sorghum. The Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers several varieties of sorghum. The shortest-season variety needs 99 days to mature. Think closer to corn than wheat in their requirements.

    Thanks for the link to the article on shortages. I wonder if the same is true here? I haven’t had to buy any of the items mentioned so I don’t know.


  19. Chris:

    That was for about 1 kg (2 lbs) honey. It was $9, now $12. Not so bad compared to your store, though your quality may be way better. I was thinking about a fellow in the northwestern part of our county that I used to go to to buy honey when we first moved here. His home was quite far from us – we’re a pretty big county – but I had the time then, and it was worth it. He was quite old 30 years ago, long gone now. Pleasant days.

    I don’t think any dogs like the heat. I’ve never met one.


  20. Hello Chris
    Am in agreement with your economic comments. Prices are soaring here. Is war going to untangle the mess?
    I have never heard of black walnuts; are the shells harder to crack than those of brazil nuts?
    I am envying the warmth you have; grey, murky and cold here.


  21. Hi Chris,
    Can’t add much to what you wrote – it boggles the mind. However, I’m amazed the house of cards hasn’t toppled yet. As Lew said there’s nothing we individuals can do about it so best to prepare as well as you can and not dwell on it too much.

    I was not familiar with the Wiggles but have rectified that situation.

    Your flowers are beautiful but looking at them just makes it seem colder here. Tonight will be -15F! We had two periods of snow totaling about 5 inches so while it’s cold, it’s sunny and quite beautiful. I spend a lot of time just watching the squirrels and all the birds at our feeders.

    The Land Conservancy after two years is having their annual meeting/brunch this Sunday in person though precautions and requirements, of course, are in place. The Executive Director has a very practical attitude towards the unmentionable but she has to address how the members feel. This will be one of the last events at the banquet venue as they, after many years, are going out of business. They were always very booked up but I’m guessing the last couple of years did them in.

    Had to get a propane refill and was relieved it arrived yesterday before the really cold temps. I was a bit concerned that they could be short on drivers.

    Both my sister and my daughter’s furnaces went out. My sister had to wait 5 days for a new one. Not sure if Cecily’s is back up and running. Her husband opted to order the part and repair himself after looking at You Tube videos. The part was supposed to arrive today. My SIL isn’t terribly socially adept but he organizes the annual block party so everyone knows him. When the furnace went out he sent out emails to all the neighbors and portable space heaters started arriving. Always best to be on good terms with neighbors.

    A lot of progress with the shed etc. despite the hot weather.


  22. @Pam

    I use cash as much as possible as a protest of the push towards the cashless society. Fortunately when someplace tries to go totally cashless there is pushback on behalf of people who don’t have credit cards or even bank accounts. My brother, Marty, has a lot of difficulty with this. Of course they still make it as inconvenient as possible to pay in cash. I’m happy to see that 60-70% of the customers at the used book store I volunteer at still use cash. On the other hand repair people and the like will often give a decent discount if you pay cash.


  23. Yo, Chris – If your hungry enough, you’ll learn how to cook. 🙂 . The truth (err, info) is out there. If I see a recipe that seems kind of interesting, but the ingredient list is long, I just move along. I do wonder about how everything seems to be moving to weighing ingredients. I mean, I understand the reasons behind it. But now I’m wondering if I need to buy a scale. If so, I want something that doesn’t plug into a wall or need batteries.

    I went down to the Club, this morning, for biscuits and gravy. LOL. Floyd, who has made his living as a chef, in several previous lifetimes, managed to burn a batch of biscuits. (He was chatting up a bird, and got distracted.) After teasing him, a bit, I related one of my recent kitchen disasters. I had a small outbreak of fruit flies. My small vinegar traps take care of the problem, in a couple of days. But in the meantime, I stashed my bananas in the oven. And, discovered it’s an ideal place to store them. Well … you know where this is going. When I went to bake cookies, and started to preheat the oven, I forgot they were there. I did manage to pull them out in time, to avoid much damage, but it was a near thing.

    I thought I read that the hole in the ozone had closed? Fake news? UV rays will penetrate clouds, just not so much.

    Well, all that mad cash is a fund to buy a building. And, yes, someones hand in the cookie jar is always a possibility. We have a pretty steady bloke who is our Treasurer. But I’m sure you would have laughed (or been appalled) at the sheet he passed out for our financials. I find it painful to watch some of our counter volunteers, count down their tills. I think if I ever had a moment of weakness, I’d take on the treasurer post. I had years of doing daily, weekly, monthly and yearly financial reports, when I was managing book stores. I’ve been treasurer for a couple of groups, over the years.

    Well, as far as your professional organization goes, if they are to the point where they have drones, there’s probably a resistance out there, somewhere. 🙂 . Speaking of which, I watched “Total Recall”, last night. Not the old one with Arnie, but the newer one will Colin Farrell. Australia plays a big roll, though it’s called “The Colony.” There were some nifty flying car chases and plenty of cool explosions.

    That was an interesting article about supply shortages. I’d heard from some of my shootist friends, that ammo has been in short supply. I was appalled to read that pianos have computer chips. But one thought I had reading the article was that maybe it’s a good thing that people have to start thinking, long term. A knack that’s gone by the wayside. But I also understand (as I’m sure do you) you often find yourself puzzling over “What is a prudent reserve?” Or at least, I do. How many tins, boxes or bags of this or that do I need? What’s prudent and what’s nuts? Lew

  24. Hi Claire,

    Thanks for the tip, and you’re not wrong about short season. The growing season here might be too short given where in the continent Sorghum is usually grown. I’ll have a look around, but the plants can adapt over time with proper breeding. It pains me, but it’s a bit marginal here for grains, and that is where tubers tend to shine. Mind you, despite the cold start to the season, the corn has just grown well in the heat and dry of the past few weeks – as has everything else. There are days that I swear the tomatoes have put on half again as much growth as the day before. There is now heaps of green fruit on those plants.

    Wheat over winters here, so the short growing season would work differently than in your part of the world. I’ll give those plants another go in the future, but right now infrastructure is calling to be done. Far out it was hot here today, and the sun cooked my head.



  25. Hi Pam,

    Quality is a hard issue to understand over distances. The people I buy the honey from have some interest in the commercial apiarists association, so I doubt they’d mix in sugar syrup to their honey. That was actually a bit of an issue a few years ago with supermarket honey and you’d hope that it was not continuing. But before that time we made a batch of mead many years ago and we bought the honey from another supplier and the end product was not mead, but a mead/sugar wine mix. It was not good and way too sweet for my tastes – I prefer a drier taste.

    You’re probably right about that. I bought a bag of potatoes from a serious old timer local farmer last week and he was telling me about some incident which took place in 1972. He had his reasons for telling me that story mostly based on our conversation, but far out, the lesson learned was publicly stuff up badly enough around these parts, and people might still be talking about it five decades later.

    I don’t believe that dogs like the heat either. It is super weird because the Kelpie breed is meant to continue working well in the heat, but from what I’m observing, they’re not much different to the Editor and I – and they avoid the mid afternoon summer sun. We got up at some ridiculous hour of the morning (who knew it was dark at that time) and worked until 2pm in the heat and in and out of the direct sun. It was 95’F today, but the sun… The great firey ball in the sky went behind a cloud at one point and it was as if someone had turned the oven off.



  26. Hi Inge,

    Thank you, and I try to describe what things look like on that front to me. The people with their hands on the policy levers are set for some challenges that’s for sure. I dunno, I’d like to be surprised, but gut feeling suggests that they’ll utterly stuff it up if only because they lack a sense of learning from history. You can’t ever really know for sure, but I really do believe that they believe that this time it’s different. It’s not different.

    And I learned last week that the quantitative easing program down under apparently involves bond purchases for both the state and federal governments. There is a word for that: cahoots!

    That’s a good question about untangling the mess. You know, I couldn’t give a toss about Ukraine – there is nothing there of any interest to Australians. And given our past performance in war, e.g. the Taliban retaking Kabul, we should not mess around with more serious adversaries.

    I have no experience with either Black Walnuts (I grow the more usually expected walnuts) or Brazil nuts. One of the more interesting nut trees happily growing here is the: Araucaria bidwillii. I’ve collected nuts from err, gardens, and they’re quite tasty in their own way.

    I dunno about envying the warmth. It was 95’F here, blue skies with extreme UV today and we worked outside to 2pm on a special project and I’m feeling it now.



  27. Hi Margaret,

    That’s a great way to put it: mind boggling! Says it all really. 🙂 I’ve got friends who keep telling me that disaster is looming just around the corner, but I dunno, it seems like more of a slow grinding misery to me, with occasional bouts of sheer craziness. Like take for example the utter weirdness of requiring school kids to be tested twice per week for the health subject which dare not be named just so that they can go to school even if they have no symptoms. I’ve got an advertisement in front of me suggesting that if you buy them in bulk it’s $12.50 per test (or $14.90 if purchased in less than a quantity of nine). So anyway that works out to cost $25 per week per kid mostly paid for by the government. Someone is making money somewhere. It’s bonkers to test people with no symptoms.

    So yeah, like you I just do my best to be prepared as well as possible and not dwell on it too much. There is an old saying which suggests that: if things look crazy, they probably are crazy. Actually I just made that up! 🙂

    On a more serious note, this is why we have decided to get serious about making the infrastructure work here. Today we did a super hard day in the hot summer sun on an infrastructure project. Oh well, it’s almost done – that job anyway – and the next project off the mark is the relocation of the greenhouse. We worked out that it makes more sense to grow the seasons chilli’s, peppers and eggplants in a proper greenhouse and unfortunately that involves a huge amount of work. Life was not meant to be easy. 🙂

    It’s really hot here still at 9pm, but weirdly it is also super humid and drizzling. Crazy weather.

    🙂 Sorry about that with the Wiggles. The Editor and I have been stirring each other up with musical interludes such as: Fruit salad, yummy, yummy! I had no idea about those guys and how massive they were.

    -15’F! Holy carp. It was 95’F here today and not much cooler this evening. Please send some cold weather… Respect for leaving feeders out for your local birds and squirrels.

    Hmm, interesting. Small business is doing it super tough over the past two years, and I’m seeing that story play out down here as well. Hope the meeting/brunch is enjoyable too. We’ve still been getting out and about the whole time, it’s meant to bring you down and the challenge is to rise above the murk.

    Ook! Out of curiosity have you got one propane tank, or two? Down under they generally install two and when one runs out you switch over to the remaining tank. Mind you, the tanks are only 45kg/100pounds and they last six months each easily, and probably far less if I put more brain cells towards that matter. But yeah, lack of people to do stuff is a problem.

    Respect to your SIL for an adaptive solution to several problems. I tell ya, it was super weird when the power went out for five days here during last winter. I offered help to the locals, but they remained defiantly independent and warmed themselves and charged their mobile devices whilst idling their vehicles for a fair while. That surprised me, but all the same it happened. Not sure what to make of that. But I’m noting several instances of the more aware folks in the area putting in place serious back up systems.



  28. Hi Lewis,

    Truer words have yet to spoken (your observation on hunger and cooking skills). 🙂 Had a lovely pasta this evening with handfuls of fresh pea pods from the garden. So tasty, and so sweet. Serious people used to tell me that peas should be grown over winter, and I spent years attempting that and failing, and then out of disregard for expert advice we grew them over summer and have not looked back. The beans which are a bit later in the season are beginning to produce too. And also the grapes on the vines have swelled a little bit (although they are still very small) but I tried one this afternoon and they were tasty. I didn’t expect that as I thought they’d be a bit hard and unripe.

    If memory serves correctly weren’t ingredients previously listed in cups, tablespoons, teaspoons etc? We’ve got a kitchen scale which I assume operates using a spring. The really old school scale devices used to use weights, but err, they are probably all in use by less law abiding folks such as you and I. 🙂

    Hehe! That can happen to the best of chefs! And serves him right too. Take his mind of the job at hand, which was cooking, not flirting. Time enough for that stuff later! That’s funny with your banana in the oven / fruit fly story. 🙂 We’d left one of last seasons pumpkins for too long in a dark cupboard only to discover that the kitchen became suddenly full of thrips a few weeks ago. Every morning I’d make coffee and wonder how these tiny insects made it into the kitchen to annoy me. Anyway, the discovery of the source was made and yeah the squooshy pumpkin was fed to the worms. I was a bit annoyed at having to smack all of the thrips with the fly swat, and the Editor came up with a genius strategy of using the vacuum cleaner to suck them all up – and so we went a thrip hunting! Haven’t seen any insects in the kitchen since then.

    It was a super hot day today at 95’F with blue sunny skies. My head still feels cooked from the sun – mad dogs and Englishmen and all that business… We’re doing a special infrastructure project and so got up at 5.30am to beat the heat – yeah right. Turns out it is dark at that time of the morning – who knew? Anyway, we finished at 2pm and by that stage all sense of good humour was gone – we were even a bit snippy with each other. Oh well, it’s all good now. Had some rehydration solution and a nice lunch and a very long nap with the swamp cooler blasting cool humid air. But far out, even at almost 10pm it is still hot, but here is the weird thing: It’s drizzling outside. The usually hot and dry state to the west of Victoria (South Australia) had record breaking rains. Crazy stuff and we’re getting the tail end of that. Record-breaking rain cuts roads and rail in outback South Australia. Still hot and mostly dry here.

    Ha! I don’t think so about the hole in the Ozone layer. I believe that the land of stuff has some exemptions and are not afraid to use them. Regardless, due to the Earth’s orbit we get more sun over summer than you guys. It cooks your brain. Makes you wonder if zombies would ever attempt cooking?

    Being treasurer is a serious undertaking, and it’s even more serious for me than you as I’m under an obligation to deal with them as I would a client with all that that involves. Interestingly I was speaking with someone about this matter over just the past week, and I said that I’d never take on such a role because if some mad cash went missing – even if it had nothing to do with me – there would be a perception problem that I’d have to deal with. And I have known of a community group where mad cash went missing, and then the fingers began a pointing. Nothing to do with me and I could say that because I had no involvement. You know, on the other hand if you don’t have my professional obligations, then the treasurer is an easy role. Better than president that’s for sure. You can just hang out in the back ground. What was your experience with that role in other groups?

    What? New Total Recall? This is news to me, although Collin Farrell is a good character actor. Did you enjoy the film? And how did it stack up against the original – which was good.

    Yup, who’d have thunk it? Even the what do they call them – wild catters? – might be having trouble reloading casings. Pays to be vertically integrated with such operations. And yup, I totally agree. People do need to start using their brains – that’s what the things are there for!



  29. Hi Inge,

    Not sure where you heard that about the ozone layer, and it may be true over the Arctic, but it is not true at all in the Southern Hemisphere. The hole changes shape every single year down here.



  30. @ Inge & Chris – OK. Here’s the skinny on the Antarctic ozone hole. The hot T. It opens and closes. But since the banning of fluorocarbons, when it opens, it’s smaller than in past. And, it closes earlier than in past. Lew

  31. Yo, Chris – Well, last night I had leftovers, plus. Night before last, I had rice, beans, canned chili w/o beans, a chopped half red onion and a handful of dried tomatoes. But, there wasn’t quit enough left over to make a meal. So I added some frozen corn and fried up some eggs, chopped them up and added them. Brussels sprouts on the side. With butter and pepper. A little hot sauce and if I squinted real hard, I could believe it was a bit of Mexico.

    Well, in Culinary Land, I’ve noticed that a lot of the newer cookbooks sing the praises of moving to weighing everything. And, they usually have a paragraph or two about why this is important. Especially in the baking books. Whatever. I think in some cases, it’s performance art. Might be important in some fussy recipes, but I usually go with cups and spoons. I did finally get a set of cup measurement utensils, which I level with a knife. Probably more accurate than trying to eyeball the levels in a measuring cup.

    Every once in awhile, and old weight scale shows up, at auction. Some were quit elegant and pretty. Mostly used for weighing gold.

    We had problems with thrips in the gardens, when I first came. I got some bio-traps, and put them out every year. That seems to have taken care of the problem. They’re not that expensive. Somewhere, I picked up some small glass bottles. So, I fill them with an inch or so of apple cider vinegar and cover the top with a bit of tape, leaving just a small hole. Fruit flies check in, but they don’t check out. They’re filthy for the stuff.

    Looking forward to seeing what your Very Special Infrastructure Project is. The anticipation is killing me 🙂 . Practicing your foreshadowing? Brought to mind those TV specials, “A Very Special After School Movie.” Usually involving some teenage angst topic, that might scare the horses.

    Sounds like South Australia is getting the same kind of weather we did, a couple of weeks ago. The train bit reminded me of something I meant to ask you. You used to ride the train quit a bit, into the Big Smoke. You haven’t mentioned it, in quit awhile. Professor Mass has been banging on about our inversion layer. So, for more than a week, the sky has been that lead gray color. No sun to speak of. I guess the air quality is bad, but I really haven’t noticed it.

    Oh, being group treasurer, wasn’t so bad. It was a fairly small group. We had a bank account and checks. Though about the only check I wrote was a quarterly rent check. There was a bit of a petty cash fund, for supplies. Coffee and such. If we built up more than a prudent reserve, we’d have a short meeting to decide what to do with it. Usually, donate it to the Area Council. The details are hazy. Been awhile.

    I quit liked the new “Total Recall”. Saw the original so long ago, that the details are hazy. But that one took place part on Mars. This one, Australia stand in for Mars. 🙂 . There was an extra on the DVD where some guy was all in a technophilic rapture, about tech nonsense, just around the corner. Flying cars (oh, please) and drilling a hole through the earth from Australia to Britain. The source material for both films was a short story by Philip K. Dick. “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.”

    Last night, I watched an animated film called “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” It was a fun movie. Also about technology out of control.

    “Reloaders?” Wild caters are people who look for oil on spec.

    Bat poop, sulfur and charcoal = gun powder. Lew

  32. Hi Pam,

    You’re actually the second person in the past week who alerted me to the decline in manufacturing of renewable energy components. And yup, mining and processing the ores to make that stuff is a very complicated and energy intensive process. Creating the pure grades of silicon which is used to manufacture solar panels is a bonkers process. It’s kind of crazy that people treat second hand solar panels as if they were worse than valueless. And you’ve mentioned before about your husbands line of work.

    Anyway, you may note that last week I pressed into service some older renewable energy gear I had to hand – and it is working really well too. But also on Monday I picked up some solar panels in my rounds into the big smoke. 🙂 Yes, the much vaunted new green deal or whatever it is called will not happen, sorry to say. It would be nice if it did happen, but there are limits and mining is one part of that story.



  33. Hi Lewis,

    There are rumours that the land of stuff has been a bit naughty when it comes to the use of ozone depleting industrial gases. But yeah the ozone layer over Antarctica varies in size. Late last year it was apparently quite a large hole compared to recent years, but relative to the late 1990’s and early 2000’s they were bigger. A frightening thought.

    Your dinner sounds pretty nice, and there must have been something in the water because we went to the pub for dinner this evening and the Editor ordered a main sized nachos. Yes, Mexican food has much to recommend it, and the corn chips were crispy too. Some nachos can be formed over soggy corn chips – not this lot. It was a really nice night to head out as it was warm and a storm was brewing. When we made it home again, the lightning was putting on a good show, and the super tough Kelpie’s were not so super tough when the thunder boomed and cracked.

    The day began with a thunderstorm, and it looks as though tomorrow will bring yet another storm, but bigger. Yikes!

    Anyway, we got up early again and continued work on the err, project. Look, the project is a bit awkward and yeah may raise questions like: why didn’t you do that before? And it would be a fair question, although there is a reasonable answer to that one. Finished up about 2pm again today, but fortunately the sun didn’t feel anywhere near as cooking using 11 on the dial, as it did yesterday.

    I dunno about the weighing everything mode of cooking. I’d be curious to learn your thoughts in the matter, but that demand for exactness reduces cooking to a scientific approach. Where is the art in that I ask you? Sometimes I look at requests for ingredients in recipes and think to myself: I guess it does no harm to ask, but I’m ignoring the detail which you asked for. It looks like an attempt at control on behalf of the authors / chefs. And the art factor is as important, if not more so, although it is equally important for people to have skills in the fundamentals before they can make their own judgements. It’s really complicated, but I like mucking around with recipes until they are reproducible and in the format that I prefer.

    It reminds me of the guitar teacher I used to go to a few decades back. He was a cool dude, but I really tried hard to read actual sheet music as distinct from the more usual guitar tab format. And there were a few songs we used to practice playing where I’d change the timing a little bit just for one bar, and the guitar teacher didn’t like that, but the results sounded better to my ears. Sometimes I kind of wonder if the music came first, and the formal structures were laid down afterwards? Grammar appears a bit like that to me too.

    I’m with you in this regard: cups; tablespoons; teaspoons. Easy to understand and gives the cook a bit of wiggle room.

    Hey, your thrip traps sound very much like the sort of thing used to capture and kill European wasps (your yellow jacket wasps). The number of wasps caught in those traps can be quite alarming. Funnily enough I am yet to see one of those pesky wasps this season. Not only was it a cold start to the growing season, but the rainfall probably drowned a few of the wasp nests.

    🙂 You’re probably right about the project! I don’t recall too many teenage angst topic movies, although who could now forget the ‘Puberty Blues’ 1981 Australian coming-of-age comedy-drama film. Lot’s of angst there. Speaking of angsty films, the 1980’s seem to have produced a few of those. We used to live up the road from where the book and slightly later 1982 film Monkey Grip was set.

    It’s funny you mention that about the train. I haven’t been into the Big Smoke for more than one day per week for the past two years. It really has been that crazy what with all of the record breaking lock downs. So mostly when I head into the Big Smoke now, I usually have lots of places to drop off at and also pick up materials – like say the 100+ pounds of coffee grounds, and the train does not fit that story.

    Hey, the big smoke gets inversion layers too – whatever they are… … Ah, thanks for mentioning the explanation, and the photos were superb. The long shadow from Mount Rainier over the upper layers of the fog were amazing. And that happens here where the morning skies are clear here, but thick fog sits over the valley.

    Ah, very wise to donate the funds excess to the prudent reserve. Very, very wise. I’ve seen groups tear themselves apart over being too well financed. What interested me about that episode, and I was viewing that group from afar and so uninvolved, was that the money was used to beat other people over the head.

    Mate, I really don’t know whether I am a fan of Phillip K Dick’s writing. I’ve read a number of his books, and there is something always a bit ‘off’ about them that does not appeal. Did the bloke have original ideas, you betcha, I just dunno – it doesn’t gel with me somehow and I’ve never been able to put a finger on exactly what it is about his writing. I feel a bit bad about writing that, but he probably won’t take offence.

    Sorry, I meant wildcat ammo. I must say, that there are utoob videos for all sorts of things, but do you watch them – that is the question.

    Oh Ron’s gone wrong looks great. Thanks for mentioning it as I had not heard of the film.

    Grantham has a big picture perspective and perhaps sees the background behind the numbers. None of the claims he made in that article are new news to me. I don’t personally know the guy, and until a week ago had not heard of him, but he seems OK.

    This looks like bubble land to me: Sydney’s median house price now just over $1.6m, but massive growth expected to slow .



  34. Yo, Chris – I keep forgetting to mention there’s a new series coming out. “The Gilded Age.” Brought to us by the same fine folks who did Downton Abbey. Fellows, et all. But it’s about 1880’s New York. It’s basically the social struggle between “old” money and new. Reviews have been good, but they do mention that there’s not quit as much upstairs / downstairs.

    Ah, Mexican food. I think I mentioned I read “Taco U.S.A.: How Mexican Food Conquered America” a couple of years ago. It’s by Gustavo Arellano, who is a very fine (and funny!), writer. He becryed the attempt to corral Mexican food and set it in stone. Usually, by gringos (or, gabachos, if you want to be a bit more raspy.) Mexican food can be very different, depending on where it lands. 🙂
    And, there are many regional variations. Hence, shrimp nachos.

    To make nachos, at home, I discovered crispy fried tortilla. Most nacho chips are small, salty and expensive. Tortillas are round and flat, and come stacked in a bag. About 5-6″ across. Not expensive. Not salted. I break them into quarters and lay them out on a plate, top them with whatever, and hold the whole thing together with shredded cheese. Nuke. Eat. You can also smear them with peanut butter or yogurt (or peanut butter and yogurt), and just snack.

    I really don’t have any idea why things moved to weighing everything. A few theories. A lot of the cookbooks and recipes come from commercial chefs. The folks who use 50 pounds of this and a quart or a gallon of that. They tend to think in terms of weights. And then there’s the whole foodie world. It’s very cutthroat and there’s a lot of one upmanship. “Your recipe didn’t turn out like mine? Did you weigh everything? No? You ignorant slacker!!!” That kind of thing.

    I made the chex mix, last night. Pretty much stuck to the recipe, except I thought it looked a bit light on the nuts, so I added another half cup. Took a bag down to our two stalwart volunteer counter people at the Club. A bag to Elinor. General opinion was, I got the mix right, but it could have used a bit more Worcestershire Sauce. Easily remedied. More sane cooks suggest sticking to a recipe the first time, and then, maybe, play with it.

    Lightening storms are fun, as long as you don’t get hit. 🙂 . Dogs react so differently to loud noises. Now H, fireworks, lightening storms … she just shrugs it off.

    All this build up to the big reveal. Might be anticlimactic. 🙂 .

    Philip K. Dick was a paranoid dystopian. But a good and inventive writer. Several of his stories were tweaked a bit, and became film hits.

    Yup. We’re in a bubble, and it’s not just house prices. It’s not going to be pretty, when it pops. Lew

  35. Hi Lewis,

    The nitrogen capture start up thing is at least interesting, although I have reservations as to the possibility that commercial volumes of nitrogen can be captured using bacteria. Legumes (pea family of plants) do that trick for free. I mean why wouldn’t farmers simply plant nitrogen fixing crops in the first place? And what about the other soil minerals. So many questions remain unanswered and I sound like I’m doing a total buzzkill… 🙂 At least it probably has more legs than the carbon capture out of the atmosphere folks. I don’t know how that story makes much sense from the second law of thermodynamics, but you maybe I’m being a buzzkill again?

    On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt just letting land lie fallow for a bit and get a bit super weedy. I did that with the old sapling fenced tomato enclosure and the thick and rich mulch produced by simply ripping all of it up and blitzing it with the mower has proven to be a rich and fertile growing medium for the pumpkins (you’d call them squashes).

    Man, feeling tired today. Got up again super early, like before dawn – it’s dark then, who knew? Got stuck into the project, and then by about 2.30pm the job was finally done and everything had been packed away. It was quite hot at that time and sweat was oozing out of pores I didn’t even know I had. The job was completed though. Made my way back into the cooler environs of the house and had some rehydration solution and lunch. It was nothing fancy, just a few hand full of greens and herbs from the garden, a couple of fried eggs from the chickens and some chunks of tasty cheese. You know what though, that is a tasty lunch. Plus I’d baked a small roll in the outdoor electric oven, cut the thing in half and smothered one half in our home made peanut butter, and the other was covered in last season’s strawberry jam. It was really tasty. But after the food was consumed I began to crash – probably a food coma, heat exhaustion, early morning, or something like that. Chucked the ceiling fan on and lay down on the couch and shut my eyes for a bit.

    Didn’t get to enjoy the nap for long because it suddenly got very dark outside. Not as dark as Pompeii was on that fateful day, but it wasn’t far off that, and I had to chuck on the lights in order to see what was going on. Then the thunder clapped and it was this alarming crack sound which wasn’t all that far away from the house (the modem seems to have survived this round). The two super tough Kelpie’s yipped in fright and piled onto the couch seeking a bit of comfort. It was very sweet, but candidly the two dogs were a bit hot and I was beginning to be at risk of further over heating.

    Then the rain hit and it was a tropical band of moisture, the very same one which produced record breaking rains a few days ago in South Australia. Nothing record breaking here – just five hours of rain – with the occasional heavy burst. At least it is cooler now than it has been for three or four weeks and the house is also cooling down. I had to go outside under an umbrella when the heavy bursts hit just to make sure that none of the water and/or drainage systems on the farm hit the fan. Everything seemed to work pretty well, but I ended up soaked despite the umbrella. And my nap was rudely interrupted by nature after less than ten minutes, but one must not grumble. Mate, there are days when I get the distinct impression that I am but a single step ahead of events – and today was like that. If I’d gotten up an hour later this morning, I would have experienced the worst parts of the tropical downpour whilst outside working.

    Had a nice hot bath after that with the door open and the cooler air flowing in, the rain coming down, and read Uther for about an hour. Nemo, intelligence was never your forte! And thus we now know how things came to be. Best if the trooper had not thought her own unique and unusual thoughts. The character proves that bad outcomes can come from a good place.

    The tensions between old money and new money continue to this day. Speaking of a lack of upstairs / downstairs, did you enjoy Star Trek Lower Decks?

    That’s true of food generally, and um, if ever you were down under the hunt for the perfect chicken parmigiana could take up all of your time. I’ve discovered a local variety which really hits home runs, but other locals in other states (cough, cough, Damo) hold strong opinions in this matter. And he might be right too, the endless lock-downs are hampering exploration and testing of these important culinary quests!

    Man, and here lies the difficulty. I have to out myself as quite enjoying the salty corn chips in nachos, if only because I rarely add salt to any meals, and the appeal is there for sure. On the other hand, I have had some of those soft tortilla’s filled with vegetarian fare (greens, sprouts and beans with some hot sauce) and they are mind bendingly great meals.

    Ooo! Yes, I tend to agree about the navigating the complexities of the foodie world. Lot’s of ego’s to uphold I guess. And you’re right, stick to the basics, until you know better and can guess at the outcomes. However, there is also the potential for artistic flourish with cooking.

    H is clearly a stalwart when it comes to loud noises. The two Kelpie’s are frightened by thunder, whilst Ollie seems to be just going along with them for the fun of it. Although, I did note that when the really huge claps and cracks of thunder sang just outside the house, Ollie did jump, so maybe he ain’t all that tough either. Old Scritchy used to predict these sorts of storms for hours beforehand – and that is probably taking things a little bit too far. Her brain had its own built it barometer!

    Anticlimactic indeed. Look, you’re probably right and no doubts you’ll say why didn’t you do that in the first place. Always there are reasons and sometimes the story is in the reasons. That’s my excuse anyway.

    Mr Dick was a prolific author too, and you’re right, plenty of his stories were turned into films: The original Blade Runner film was astounding. And didn’t you once say to me that the old timers used to say that it isn’t paranoia if it’s true? 🙂

    Yeah, bubbles do seem to be bursting right now, although few people seem to be interested in that subject. I dunno why that would be…



  36. Chris and others
    I use old scales and weights. Was told that the scales came from a sweet shop. Managed to find various weights and a friend made me half ounce, one ounce and two ounce ones out of lead. I mainly use it when baking as cakes seem to be touchy about accuracy.


  37. Yo, Chris – No worries. I do buzz kill quit nicely on my own. 🙂 .

    Yup. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” Attributed to English theologian and historian, Thomas Fuller. From his “Pisgh – Sight of Palestine and the Confines Thereof.” 1650. Sounds like a real barn burner. Pisgh, by the way is a mountain top, something, something Moses.

    Well, that’s done! And you got a well deserved lunch out of the deal. Sounds very tasty. But then the weather! Well, you got a well deserved bath out of that deal. Clear and cold here, today. The grass was crunchy when I took H out for her morning walk. Got down to 27F (-2.77C), last night. Nothing like what your constant readers to the east of me have experienced.

    So, I take it you solved one of the mysteries of “Urther?” You didn’t come right out and say it, so, to avoid stumbling into spoilers, I’ll remain mute.

    I really liked “Star Trek: Lower Decks” and thought it was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to season two.

    My Idaho friends commented that when they were out and around, they noticed three or four restaurants that had closed down. They’re always out and around, up and down their valley, from town to town. So, they eat out … a lot. They got the keys to their new place, and with tape measure in hand, and clipboard for lists, made their first extended foray.

    I need to find a good biography of Phillip K. Dick.

    And, from the Wonderful World of Tech, and more complications in our lives than we need …

    How … “1984”. The IRS is our Federal taxing agency. The Internal Revenue Service. Sometimes call the Infernal Revenue Service. Funny about these articles. The appeared last night, and then promptly disappeared. Had to dig a bit to find them again. People don’t want to know.

    Food boxes are arriving. Lew

  38. Hi Chris,

    The thing is the rapid test results just aren’t reliable. I’ve known people who’ve taken up to 1/2 dozen and the results are split. Others went to get a PCR test and never got the results. That includes Marty who got his at Walgreens – a very large and generally reliable pharmacy chain. If I felt that it was imperative I needed one I’d get an order from my doctor and get it at the clinic here. I’ve heard that the accuracy is supposedly better and results are back in two days.

    We have a 500 gallon propane tank and I contracted for 1200 gallons which is most likely more than we’ll need. If you pay upfront for the whole amount of the contract you get a significant discount. Of course there’s always the chance that the price will go down over the course of the contract but I don’t think that’s ever happened. You also get a credit for any unused propane towards the following year so I always estimate on the high side. Generally they add about 300 gallons per fill. Price was up considerably this year.

    Yesterday was sunny with light wind and 31F and it felt wonderful. Today we have a high of 15 and a low tonight of -7. Staying below average for most of the next 10 days.

    I’ve always loved birds and it’s just fun to watch them when we’re stuck inside. I start out with 20 lbs of suet from a local meat processor which all the different woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees love. I just keep it in the freezer and there’s a good chance it’ll last all winter. Other than that I feed black oil sunflower and a small figer of niger seed and get a good variety of birds for this time of year. I also have a birdbath that has a heater to keep it thawed. Come spring I’ll add jelly and orange slices for the orioles and mealworm for the bluebirds. Of course the squirrels would eat everything if I let them but I have a squirrel proof pole for the feeders which has finally foiled them. There’s plenty knocked out on the ground by the other birds and I give them all the squash rinds and seeds as well. The other day I watched one hanging upside down by his/her back feet on the trunk of a tree chowing down on a hunk of squash. They really prefer all the acorns and hickory nuts they buried but now it’s much harder for them with the snow cover and frozen ground.

    Apparently your local neighbors don’t have generators. Everyone around here does.

    Moving the greenhouse really sounds like it’s going to be quite the job.


  39. Hi Inge,

    The old scales and weights are a very elegant technology. Of course way back in the day there would always have been the odd shyster here and there who’d employ their own err, unique version of the individual weights in order to gain an advantage over the unsuspecting. But really, in a world where social connections count – as they will again at some point in the future – that sort of trick can’t be pulled too often, or become widely known about. The bush telegraph transmits local news and gossip, and I’d be sure that your island has a similar locals only communication network.

    Gray skies here today and a top of 57’F. Yes, high summer down under style. 🙂 Admittedly the cooler over night temperature was appreciated and I slept well and deeply last evening. I sleep better in the colder weather than the heat. I couldn’t imagine moving to a tropical location. How did you enjoy the heat in your foray into Northern Africa as a young lady? I suppose it might be different when you’re travelling. Dunno. When we travelled around this continent last century, the hot nights up north weren’t as much of a problem because as travellers we were unhurried, and that might make a difference.

    Mmmm! Cakes. Yum! Had a small chunk of Christmas cake served with a dollop of custard with my coffee this evening. So good. No doubts all of the yummy food eaten here is probably considered not great for my health, but you know, most of the other times I eat very basic but tasty meals with much of the stuff produced here. I guess time will prove whether the cakes were a smart move. I’d like to think so! 🙂



  40. Hi Margaret,

    I’ve heard similar stories, but have not been tested myself and so have no first hand experience. I do have an advertisement on my desk – which I printed out on a whim – which suggests that bulk packs of the home testing kits will set a person back around $250. And um, the half dozen tests will consume a bit under half of those tests. There is an economic dimension to this whole story which makes so little sense to me. I don’t get it, but if people are happy and it makes them feel safe, what me worry? I’ve learned over the past two years that the things I worry about, aren’t even on most peoples radars. Anyway, my friends corrected me today about the twice weekly testing of school kids. Apparently this was something which was misreported in the media. At that sort of ongoing weekly cost I’d imagine that some families who can’t afford such testing niceties would be breathing a sigh of relief.

    Interestingly, down here the testing clinics only offered the PCR tests. Margaret, I tell you truly that there were times in the past year or two where I’d have to travel past such a facility in the big smoke and the line of cars waiting to get into the premises (for some reason arriving by car seemed to be the preferred option as distinct from parking nearby and walking in) stretched back half a mile and there were traffic controllers in their high vis gear on the roads directing traffic. The wait times must have been epic. I scratched my head in wonder as many of those folks had no symptoms.

    Well done you with thinking ahead about the propane. Respect. When we rented in the house in the nearby township housing estate whilst constructing this house, they had a propane tank too. You know, the owners of the house could have connected up to the natural gas pipeline which was installed, but no. They had a really similar arrangement with the propane tanks, but here is where that got weird. The former tenants of the house had done a runner without paying for the propane bill, and they tried to stitch us up for the supply companies loss. That was a bit of a battle, but you don’t have that to worry about as your arrangement is a long term thing. I did some rough calcs and the propane bottles here work out to be 23 gallons! Yikes, but firewood is my friend. We have to bring that stuff in soon too before the weather turns, as it appears to have done over the past day. 57’F here today. What a summer!

    I love the birds too, and all of their antics. The other day I was working on the roof of the new shed project in the full hot summer sun and the heat. Sweat was pouring off my brow and there was no escape from the heat despite the early hour. In that elevated position I spied a family of Gang Gang Cockatoos enjoying the fresh elevated water supply which I leave out for all of the local birds. They squawked their squeaky door call and then the cheeky blighters decided to do a ‘Top Gun’ buzz the tower thing. I was perched on the roof and the birds enjoyed a fun close fly by of the controller (i.e. me!) Yes, very amusing for them.

    Actually some of the neighbours have generators, but by the time five days without electricity were endured, they’d all run out of fuel supplies. And when the electricity was finally restored there were apparently spikes in the supply voltage which allegedly caused a bit of additional mayhem with white goods.

    Work? I know about that thing. 😉 The design of the new greenhouse will be very interesting indeed and adapted to local conditions. There won’t be another one like it anywhere.



  41. Hi Lewis,

    Respect to those who can do a proper buzzkill! 🙂 It takes serious talent to bring party goers back to reality. It may be merely my observation, but this hallowed state of reality does not appear to be a place that the vast majority of folks wish to place themselves in. I don’t worry about such things. What me worry?

    However, I’m not suggesting that you put the kiss of death on me for train travel this week, but you know, it kind of looks like that to me. Hehe! Bad Chris. So, I was at the train station this morning, and the train was cancelled. This morning I might add was neither warm, nor was it dry (a top of 57’F and drizzling). Me, being me, thought that this was no bad thing as I rather enjoy the bus ride into the big smoke. Yeah except that, the train was cancelled, and there was no bus replacement service either. Nothing, and the next train was an hour away.

    The Editor grew up in an area which relied upon the country trains and she has no love for that system. I feel differently, things have been occasionally odd with the country trains, but this ‘nothing’ was a new experience for me. She had warned me about her earlier experiences, and mate I confronted her story this morning in the flesh and I had this sinking feeling that we’d suddenly travelled back in time three decades. Ook!

    Anyway, whilst at the unmanned cold and wet train station there was no indication that the train had been cancelled other than a mumbled loud speak announcement. A young lady asked me what was going on, and I replied that I believed that the train was cancelled. She then went on to say that she believed that there was a shortage of bus and train drivers. That was new information for me, but the facts sort of suggest that she was correct.

    So, yeah, no train travel this week and I had to drive into the big smoke and pay for parking. I’ve got this hate thing about paying for parking. It might sound a bit weird, but let’s just say that I know too much about that industry.

    There’s a big tennis thing going on right now in the big smoke, but I don’t know much about tennis. Anyway, there was a little bit more life in the big smoke today, although where I had lunch (a very tasty spaghetti fungi, but no tiramisu) there was about as many staff as there were customers in a vast area and my understanding of numbers means that I cannot enjoy or be oblivious when observing such an occurrence. Read Uther over lunch.

    There are times when you mention an historical personage such as say, Thomas Fuller, and I think to myself: I’d enjoy a quiet ale or two with that bloke. Good Thoughts in Bad Times can only ever but be surpassed by Good Thoughts in Worse Times. Ah, what a wit!

    You set me yet another riddle! The word Pisgh was not recognised by the spell checker. Is it a real word then? Between you and I, the delinquencies of the spell checker are real! 😉 Are you sure that you didn’t mean Pisgah? Anyway, the spell checker did not know that word either. What rubbish are they feeding these word databases in these enlightened days? I’ll bet old Moses didn’t catch a glimpse of your continent, or down here for that matter. His brain might have popped like the poor souls having to endure The Total Perspective Vortex.

    Being somewhat summer soft, if I had to live in your country, I’d make a bee-line for your part. I mean, the cold weather in other parts of your country seem pretty epic to me. I do wonder if there is a sweet spot on the east coast, but my gut feeling suggests that there would be way too many people for my brain to cope with. The sweet spot in Australia is in northern New South Wales up around the Byron Bay area. By many accounts, it’s expensive.

    Hehe! Yes, Nemo did it. I didn’t see that coming until her arrival at Camulod. The tidings were not good. Some people can start fires with their witty conversation, Nemo was never one such. It is a simple worldview which suggests elimination of a problem will resolve other problems.

    Yeah, I noted that Star Trek Lower decks may even have a season three.

    Just ducked outside in the drizzle tonight to assist the Editor with a burn off of forest material in the brazier. The weather outside is filthy tonight, and I do hope that we get the seasons firewood stored away soon before it gets too damp. That’s the next job on the to-do list. There are plenty of tiny green tomatoes now. Yay! Observed in the nearby town today that two large and old Elm trees had fallen over in the storm – one had crushed a car from what I could see.

    Good stuff with your mates in Idaho. Lists are to be respected as long as they are not prepared for their own sakes. Mate, in the big smoke, there were a lot of people around, but compared to two years ago, it’s probably one fifth to one quarter of those times. Lots of empty commercial premises too, which look kind of sad somehow. But getting staff is difficult nowadays. A mate of mine is taking a break from work due to bonkers mandates. He’s a good bloke and probable deserves the break.

    When you do discover a good biography on the author Mr Dick, please let me know as, I dunno, maybe my belief is founded on error?

    Facial recognition seems to be a wet dream for such software folks. I’m not a fan, and the login system I have to use may have or had a similar thing. You know, not everyone carries around a smart phone, and facial recognition isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

    Yeah, well friends corrected me about mandatory twice weekly testing of school kids even if they had no symptoms, and they implied that this was something which was allegedly mis-reported in the media. I read the suggestion and it seemed bonkers to me, but then a lot of things do these days. It’s not me, it’s them! 🙂



  42. Yo, Chris – “What Me Worry” should be set to music. Maybe an anthem? Or just a good toe tapper. Something with a good beat that you can dance to. 🙂

    Oh, I’m sure your next government administration will make sure the trains run on time. 🙂

    Chicago (I think) outsourced their paid parking. It was quit the mess.

    Mount Pisgah. Looks like I dropped the “a”. Even with, still didn’t help, did it? Spell checker delinquencies or deficiencies?

    From what I’ve been told, the Mormons think Jesus visited America. So why not Moses?

    Well, our east coast has lots of hurricanes. And right now, they’re having a ripper of a blizzard. Sunshine, here, today. But never fear. The rain is coming back, tomorrow.

    I can’t think when, but very early on, I knew Nemo was a psycho. And that she’d probably killed Merlin’s wife. I’m sure some bleeding hearts would excuse her, due to her rough early upbringing. Which brought this clip from “Repo Man,” to mind.

    Many people have worse upbringings, and rise above. Reading “The Stand,” I’ve been giving a bit of thought about good and evil. A lot of the characters in “The Stand” have this turning point. When they have to decide which side they’re going to land on.

    We got our food box, yesterday. Now I know I’m a bit touchy about food, but what a sorry lot. Junk, junk and more junk. Bags of marshmallows. Bags of chocolate flavored cereal. Cake mix with tinned frosting. Candy canes. A smashed bag of hot dog buns. One tin each of garbanzo, black beans, baked beans and tomatoes. A jar of good peanut butter. Those I kept for myself. Just about everything else, I took down to the Club.

    Now here’s the funny thing. There has been nothing on the swap table. I took a few things down and they disappeared. Even the can of green beans! I wonder if some of our folks are doing it hard. Last month, due to flood / ice / snow, we didn’t get our boxes. Lew

  43. Hi Lewis,

    Emboldened by the recent success with refurbishing decades old electronics in the form of cheap but high end FM radio’s and amplifier I just took a deep dive into what other folks are doing. Far out, there are some purists out there, and whilst I respect their efforts, I shall not go there. My brain is not wired for such extreme excellence!

    Had a delightful day today pottering around the place doing things which had needed to be done but I’d not quite had the time to do them. Today, they were done! Several full wheelbarrow loads of coffee / wood ash / agricultural lime were dumped in the orchard. Dunno, but for some reason this morning my brain began wondering whether anyone had penned any good ‘how to’ books on old school orchards. Have you heard of any such books? There are probably things I need to learn there. It interests me greatly that most such small holding books are written with vegetables in mind as distinct from fruit trees. I can’t say for sure why that would be. Hmm. The increased fertilisation regime for the orchards here over the past year or so have produced positive outcomes – which you can see.

    A top suggestion with the: ‘what me worry dance’ floor burner! It’s baffles me that few are interested in worrying about matters other than the health subject which dare not be named. Holy carp, oil prices…

    Very funny about the trains running on time. There are both state and federal elections this year, and I am lodging a protest vote. Although candidly that may not end well if enough people also pile on. The regular protests which aren’t reported upon in the media have quite the following. Regardless I do hope that the political parties in power now lose the balance of power in the Senate (or state equivalent) and that means that they will only control the lower house and have to seek support from the minor parties in the Senate.

    The city council in the big smoke down here I believe runs the on-street parking. But from what I could observe the upper limit on a Saturday was 2 hours, and as you may rightly guess I can gasbag on for far longer than that meagre time allowance. Had to use a commercial car park, and the entrance ramp was quite steep and I had to stop to get a ticket from the machine (the place was devoid of humans) and when I took off, the clutch got a work out.

    My thoughts are that it is a form of delinquency. It interests me that the 1953 hardback version of the concise Oxford dictionary occasionally straddles the blurry line between dictionary and encyclopaedia.

    It’s possible that Moses did just that. When I was a kid there was an English sci-fi series: The tomorrow people. I quite enjoyed the series because the protagonists could teleport and that seemed like a super nifty trick. And at school I read Alfred Bester’s novel, The Stars My Destination, which I knew as Tiger! Tiger! and the colourful and also vengeful rogue had that ability too. Surely teleporting was the next big thing? And let’s not forget Star Trek which employed that technology. So where is this technology now? Science needs to get its act together and stop mucking around and deliver the goods. 😉 It’s not as if all those stories weren’t delivered almost fifty plus years ago. I’m sick of waiting. Hehe! Mind you, being delivered The Fly, would be a serious bummer.

    Enjoy the sunshine today, for tomorrow things will get damp and cold again. It wasn’t a bad day here today despite being super humid. Fixed up the old scary wood chipper late this afternoon and it caused a sweat I can tell you. The fuel line had sprung a small leak causing the previous tank of fuel to empty. At oil prices these days, one can’t muck around with such loses.

    I loved the film Repo Man! And yeah, Duke earned the ending. You have to love the line: You’re going to be alright man. Maybe not. 🙂 It’s almost as good a line as: Mate, it’s gonna end badly!

    Yes, exactly. I saw that play out in my own early life. My older sister went way off the rails, and I have nothing to do with her. At some point you have to make a choice not to repeat things using dysfunctional tools provided to you which produce those sorts of outcomes. But then the question becomes: what the heck do you do then? It’s funny you mention that story, but it has been on my mind of late, and I believe that it pertains to the larger story going on all around us. Yup, what to do indeed?

    But on the other hand, you can also be a good person and do evil. For sure that is possible. Like say take climate change for example, you may be a virtuous person in all other regards, but then it’s a relative concept and from a person living an impoverished life in a third world country at sea level, you’d be an agent of evil to take a big dirty dump in the atmosphere just to enjoy a holiday overseas and fly there. And that person would also contribute to the same problem in their own way. Which is evil and which is good? Probably neither, or either.

    When I consider the Arthurian story we’ve been discussing, is Lot evil to want to expand his landholdings to more fertile areas? By all accounts Cornwall is not the easiest place to reside. And why did Uther allow Lot to regroup and recruit more mercenaries in order to again attack Camulod? Why not level the castle at Cornwall? So I reckon the concept of good or evil is a relative concept which can be applied depending upon a persons perspective.

    I also would have kept the tins and passed on the rest of the food box processed stuff. Yup.

    Yikes! Well the problem you have is the same problem I have here in this area. So much effort has gone into the divide and conquer strategy that social bonds have been broken. What to do? What to do?



  44. Yo, Chris – Now that you’ve conquered the repair of FM tuners, what’s up next? Nuclear fission? 🙂

    I can’t think of any specific book on orchards, but if you gargle “Book on home orchard,” all kinds of possibilities pop up.

    I’m sure a “What Me Worry” dance floor burner, would make the youth 100 list. Knock “The Wiggles” right out of the number one slot. Which reminds me. Here’s a little ditty that took the airwaves by storm, back in 1988.

    It was played ad nauseam, on the radio. After awhile, when I heard it, I wanted to go screaming into the streets. I see Bob Marley did a cove of it.

    Yeah, I lodged a protest vote in 2016, and … 🙁 .

    The barometer is heading down and the rain came back, overnight. Even though it was still clear, and the temperature was in the 50s, when I laid down to take a nap, yesterday afternoon, I had to throw an extra blanket on the bed. The building was just cold. Don’t know why.

    Urther, Camulod. There’s a lot to that story. Are you defending King Lot? Or is it just more thinking out loud. Lebensraum. Doesn’t end well.

    A few things finally appeared on the swap table. Snapped them up.

    I meant to say more on farmers and nitrogen fixing cover crops. In general, farmers are a pretty conservative lot. They’re usually in debt, to the hilt. So anything new might bring the whole house of cards crashing down. They stick with whatever worked in the past, even to their own detriment. I think there’s a lot of peer pressure. And they watch each other, closely.

    Suppose your an author, and ….

    I suppose I could say, don’t have your books printed overseas. But, authors have very little say, in that. Back when I was in the book biz, we had tables of “sale” books. A lot of them were remainders, stuff that had come out in paperback, and the hardbacks were marked down. But there were a lot of “specials.” Some of it was classics, whose copyright had lapsed. But other books were specifically printed to be a “bargain” book. Usually big gifty coffee table books. I was often asked by customers what that was all about. And what the book would have sold for if it wasn’t a “special.” With the amount of color photographs, usually in the $35-$50 range. Now on offer for less than $10. Occasionally I was asked how that could be. I had a stock answer. “They’re printed by little brown people, in foreign countries, that don’t get paid much.” No sense trying to put lipstick on a pig. Lew

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